The title of my blog might seem a bit rude but it also just happens to be the most satisfying and rewarding thing to do when you are Venice!
What conjures up when you think of Venice? A romantic Gondola ride with a man donned in blue and white striped shirt singing to you while you pass under numerous bridges? Apart from living up to its tag of one of the most romantic cities in the world, this beautiful lagoon has so much of a character that you are bound to fall in love with Venice.
Venice is a charming little city which can be easily covered by foot and I personally feel 2-3 days are enough to explore Venice but given the vibe of the city I am sure you would want to stay more. We went in October, an ideal time if you want to give the hordes of tourists a miss!
5 things to do in to do in Venice – My Recommendations
1. Wander around St. Marco Piazza / St.Mark’s Square
St. Mark’s Square is quite touristy and rightfully so as the major attractions of Venice are clustered around this area-
• St. Mark’s Cathedral – This famous catholic church is one of best-known examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture with its distinctive domes and turrets and gold mosaics standing out over the square.
• Campanile – The bell tower with an awesome bird’s eye view of the city!
• Dodge’s Palace– This Palace was the official residence of The Doge (aka Duke/Chief Magistrate), the seat of government and the palace of justice. This was where some of the most important decisions for Venice were taken.
• Bridge of Sighs – Bridge of Sighs was built to connect the old prison in Doge’s Palace with the new one across the river. When prisoners walked across the bridge, they would ‘sigh’ whilst glancing at the sea, their last glimpse of outside world and hence the name- Bridge of Sighs. One of the rare people escaping this prison was famous lover Casanova.
• The Classic Gondola Shot – Most of the Venice postcards or wallpapers you will see Gondolas swaying in the sea (see the pic below) This classic picture is of the waterfront near St.Mark’s where you will also find Gondola ‘rank’ (if I may call it so)
Tip: Do visit St. Mark’s square in the night when it is not thronged by tourists. As the sun sets, the square lights up transforming into something magical.
2. Gawk at the glory of Grand Canal – This regal S-shaped canal cuts the city in half with its clear blue-green water. With gorgeous buildings lining the canal, it for sure is a photographer’s delight. There are 3 major bridges across the grand canal – Rialto, Academia, Scalzi
3. Visit the market near Rialto Bridge – The local market around the Rialto bridge is must visit. Your senses will be overwhelmed by a riot of colors of local vegetable produce and array of fresh seafood varieties. This area is filled with restaurants both touristy and local. Make sure you pick the correct one and avoid the tourist trap.
4. Gondola Ride – Gondolas have been eternally synonymous with the spirit of Venice and is one of the most romantic experiences. Navigating through canals lined with charming Venetian buildings and passing under pretty bridges is a fantast
ic way of exploring Venice. Btw Venice has around 400+ bridges and each bridge upping its photogenic quotient as you pass through them! Word has it that if a couple kisses under the bridge while drifting below on a gondola at sunset, they will enjoy eternal love. Having said that, I confess to having an ambivalent feeling towards Gondola ride. I personally feel even if you decided not to give it a go, it is absolutely fine. First and foremost,these rides aren’t cheap and they cost anywhere from 80-100 Euros. If you are going with a group of people then obviously the cost spreads out but so does the romantic quotient, unfortunately.
Tip : Since you are not a part of a movie or a shoot, please have a realistic expectation about the ride. In touristy seasons these canals can be congested with many gondolas leading to traffic jams( yes you heard that right!) and it is far off from being romantic. Pick the time of the ride carefully.
5. Get lost – Venice is nothing short of a maze with its winding alleyways and confusing roads. Bear in mind, google maps, GPS, travel map/guide can’t really guide you to your destination in Venice be it your hotel or any restaurant you fancy eating at (BTW Venice has some of the best restaurants and it also has a few Michelin star restaurants!). So if you are meeting anyone in Venice please factor in extra 10-15 mins for you to find your way. Frustrating isn’t it?
Not really. In fact, this is a perfect way to actually explore Venice and trust me when I say this it is the most satisfying one! The alleyways in Venice are so narrow that at times only one person can pass through it. (Venice houses one of the world’s narrowest roads which is 53cm wide)
These numerous alleyways always lead into a square/piazza or a beautiful bridge and you will be surprised when you stumble across beautiful things which weren’t in your itinerary or no one really told them about you. It seems as if these gorgeous gems are tucked away from the tourists and are beckoning you to come and look for them.
Tip: We realized that there are very few dead ends in the Venice. So if you are in a narrow alleyway, make sure you go till the end because what might appear to be a dead end in the first glance might not be one. So don’t be fooled by it and give up.Keep exploring and you will be surprised by what you discover!
Do you want to get a glimpse of what all we found when we were lost –
Liked the pictures and want to know how can you reach them? Do yourself a favor and don’t look for the address just keep your eyes open and feet working and you might just stumble across these hidden treasure.